Dr. Blackwell's BLOG

Monday, November 7, 2011

Theater Review: The Addams Family Broadway Tour

Filed under: Performing Arts — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 00:03


The national tour of the hit Broadway show The Addams Family made its way through Orlando last week making a stop at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center. This version of the show is slightly different from its Broadway counterpart, which closes at the Lunt Fontanne Theater (the same theater that housed my beloved Titanic) in January of 2012. Of course the show is based on the famous bizarre Addams Family characters of Gomez, Fester, Morticia, Wednesday, Pugsly, Lurch, and Grandma. But the Broadway incantation, which has largely been panned as a sloppy and messy show without any true plot line was rewritten for its tour by Andrew Lippa. And unfortunately, while I haven’t seen the version in New York, this one left a lot to be desired. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like the show–I did! It was funny, the songs were very good, and there was a TON of comedy that really kept a smile on my face throughout the vast majority of the show.

But for all the fun the show conjures up, it has numerous shortfalls. Its basic plotline is weak. In a nutshell, Wednesday has fallen in love with straight-laced Lucas. She tells her father early in Act I and the two hold their secret during the remaining of the Act as Lucas’ family joins the Addams Family for a dinner. Obviously, Lippa has been quite inspired by La Cage Au Follies (The Birdcage) as the macabre Addams have to act “normal” as to not threaten the relationship between the two young lovebirds. While that part of the plot is rather formulaic, the events that transpire during the dinner are quite hilarious. And the pinnacle of Act I is “The Game,” which is a funny take on the classic adolescent game of truth or dare. Act I ends solid. I was pleasantly surprised at how excellent the music, acting, and comedy was flowing.

Morticia is played wonderfully by Sarah Gettelfinger and Gomez is  craftfully played by the handsome Douglas Sills, who portrays a fantastic Spanish accent. Wednesday (Cortney Wolfson), Pugsly (Brian Justin Crum), Lurch (Tom Corbeil), Grandma (Pippa Pearthree), and Fester (Blake Hammond) play their parts well. So, it’s of no fault of their’s that Act II of The Addams Family unfortunately fails. Act II sees struggles between the main characters (Morticia/Gomez, Wednesday/Lucas) that never really make any sense. I felt as if I had missed something in the show, particularly in the conflict between Wednesday and Lucas. Their relationship hinged on their differences; yet the entire second act is predicated on their differences as nothing but a source of tension. The songs of Act II, while certainly good, also fail to bring the storyline anywhere significant. At times, tunes like Morticia’s “Just Around the Corner” and Fester’s ode to the moon seem thrown in just to kill time. They make no true contributions to advance the storyline.

One major star of the show, however, is its look. The sets are INCREDIBLE. A curtain effect is employed to conceal set changes that happen rapidly and leave the audience in awe. And the look of the Addams’ mansion, the opening scenes in the graveyard, and a scene of Fester dancing with the moon are excellently well-depicted. The skills used in the execution of these scenes and the talent of the set designers in a way, steal the show. In the end, The Addams Family is a VERY fun and VERY funny show. Did it sweep the Tony’s and leave an impact on me in the same way as so many other live performances have? No. But, it did make my face sore from laughing and smiling for a solid two hours. See The Addams Family for the lighthearted show it is. But, keep your expectations low or you’ll find your cynical side taking over. Photo Courtesy Orlando Sentinel.

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